Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation ("ICMBio") publishes new rules on licensing and environmental compensation

In recent weeks, two new Normative Instructions by ICMBio were published regulating the impact on specially protected areas ("unidades de conservação", "UC" or "UCs") at the federal level.

Normative Instruction No. 7/2014 ("IN 7"), came into effect in November, 2014 and expanded the circumstances in which ICMBio shall review and approve state, municipal, and federal environmental licensing applications, to include projects that might impact a federal UC or its environmental buffer zone. 

The environmental licensing agency shall require ICMBio to issue an Authorization for Environmental Licensing ("AEL") within sixty (60) days.  According to IN 7, during this time period, the licensing agency and ICMBio should establish guidelines, organize, and discuss the project.  It also brought specific requirements to projects that might affect the speleological heritage of a federal UC and projects involving topics under research by the National Center for Research and Conservation. 

The new legislation also provides for modification, suspension or cancellation of AEL in case of violation during its issuance process or when unusual or unpredictable facts are identified. The norm also describes conditions for AEL rectification. 

Another recent advancement is Normative Instruction No. 10/2014 ("IN 10") published in December, 2014.  IN 10 aims to regulate proceedings regarding the terms of commitment for execution of environmental compensation ("ECCA") when a federal UC is involved.  It clarified the content and the main conditions involving an ECCA.  For instance, the new legislation establishes that the project developer, in certain cases, may directly make the payment required by law.  Additionally, the legislation requires periodical adjustments to the environmental compensations according a criteria established by the licensing agency.  Also, project developers will be accountable for the resources already used, and obligated to report them to the licensing authority every six months from the publication of ECCA in the Official Gazette. 

ICMBio will be in charge of managing and maintaining an online database containing the amounts of environmental compensation already paid, showing the benefited parties, and the UC involved.  The database should be open and with full access to the public.